The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides citizens the fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and DWI checkpoints that stop vehicles without any suspicion of wrongdoing can clearly conflict with this fundamental right. In 1990, the United States Supreme Court upheld the use of random checkpoints with limitations on officer discretion and turned over to the states exactly what would be allowed at checkpoints. The majority of states allow the use of DWI checkpoints and a limited number of states have outlawed checkpoints. Missouri allows the use of DWI checkpoints.
What Can Officers Do at Checkpoints?
The law allows the officer to stop a vehicle, make contact with the driver, and seek and inspect the driver's license. The officer will make observations during this contact with the driver seeking evidence of intoxication. Typical observations are the odor of intoxicants or drugs, condition of the driver's eyes such as bloodshot, speech patterns such as slurring of words, physical coordination when obtaining license or doing other movements. The officer can continue to conduct investigation of DWI if there are observations that constitute reasonable suspicion of the crime.
What Action Should Be Taken if Arrested at a Sobriety Checkpoint?
The assistance of a lawyer is important if you have been arrested for DWI because the consequences to your criminal record and ability to drive can be significant. An attorney can seek the law enforcement plan for the DWI checkpoint and evaluate such plan to see if it complies with the law. A failure of law enforcement to conduct the DWI checkpoint consistent with the law could lead to the dismissal of your case.
Holder Susan Slusher, LLC handles alcohol related cases throughout mid Missouri. Contact our legal team at (573) 710-4716 for a free initial consultation.